Welcome!

Welcome to HighTail Farms, LLC! We're a small farm located in Hammond, Louisiana. We are dedicated to providing people with ethically raised and humanely processed pastured poultry and sheep, fresh eggs, and raw meat for pet food.

Please follow the links in the top bar for more information on our products and their availability. Continue reading below for our blog where we detail the adventures of raisin' animals and whatnot.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Barley's Job


Around this place pretty much everyone has a job. The ducks lay eggs, the cats act as pest control, the shelties work as herding dogs and do their best to guard the place as well. Barley? Well, the idea was that Barley would provide some of the muscle. He's a nice sized dog, a mix of breeds known for their pulling power, so we thought it would be a simple thing to have him help move things from time to time. Unfortunately, the first couple times he was hooked up to anything that moved, the dude was completely freaked out. I decided to take a few steps back and start with something simple.....



That's an empty box attached to a leash that is attached to his normal harness. It took a little while and a lot of tasty treats, but eventually he got comfortable with having something dragging behind him. By the end of the training session, he was dragging the box with a couple bricks and chunks of firewood inside with gusto!

So there is hope that the big goof will be useful after all!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Welcome!

Some of you may have stumbled onto our site/blog accidentally, although we're going to presume that most of you came here by way of the Team HighTail photoblog or the food blog Mr. Onion's Neighborhood.  Either way, welcome!

We are Anthony (also known as "Big Onion") and Kaela, a recently engaged couple who have been urban farming for a couple of years and decided to expand our small duck raising/produce projects into a larger scale.  Originally based out of New Orleans, we purchased a house and some property in nearby Hammond, Louisiana. Our nine acres is mostly pasture, save for the house, a creek, a couple of small ponds, and some tree lines that separate the land into three pastures of various size. 

Luckily, our purchase of this property included a series of outbuildings that were perfect for poultry and other small livestock. In the month since we closed, we moved our flock of nearly 30 ducks and have obtained some rabbits (New Zealand and California breeds), chickens (broilers, Wyandottes, and Ameraucanas), some more ducks (crested Pekins), guineafowl, turkeys (Broad Breasted Whites), and some geese (we're still not sure on the breeds).

Recently we established HighTail Farms, LLC. This page will serve as a site for the business itself, as well as our continuing progress in working to provide small-scale, pastured poultry and other livestock.

We'll use the blog space here to mostly detail some of our projects, to talk about why we do the things we do, to share some recipes, and to hopefully let you know when we're able to start selling some of our products!  We look forward to sharing some of our experiences and knowledge with you, and to hearing what you have to say!

- Big Onion

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Goodbye Mrs. Duckie


I guess it is fitting to start off this blog with a memorial to the duck that started it all, Mrs. Duckie.



I wanted a group of ducks to practice herding with my Shelties, so during a visit to Luna's breeder in July of 2009 I bought 5 ducks (http://kerath.livejournal.com/317295.html): 3 blue and white Indian Runner boys and 2 Buff Orpington girls. We later found out that one of the Buff ducks was actually a boy, leaving Mrs. Duckie as our sole female duck. She was an incredible layer, laying an egg almost every single day for years. She never even took time off laying in the winter. After I'd had her for a couple years, I decided to try incubating some of her eggs and ended up with 9 ducklings. Mrs. Duckie was the mother/grandmother to over 35 ducklings in her time.

She was very closely bonded with her 2 runner boys, Lionel and Rupert. They barely ever left her sight and if they wandered too far, would come hustling back when she called. 



As time went by, the shells of her eggs started to get thinner and thinner. I eventually took her to the local exotics vet who examined the old girl and even ran some bloodwork. His only conclusion was that she had just laid herself out. I guess a duck only has so many good eggs in her. So Mrs. Duckie retired to pet status. We decided she would just live out her years with her runner boys and all her kids and grandkids dropping the occasional thin shelled egg out in the yard.



She made the move to the farm without a problem. Loved to go out into the pasture and spend the day grazing. We planned on her dying of old age some day, but the other morning, the Big Onion came in from morning chores and said there was something wrong with the old gal. We rushed back out and picked her up. Part of her wing was missing and the wound looked very nasty. The only thing we can figure is that she was laying too close to the fence and something like a possum or a coon tried to grab her. No bloody, feather strewn scene of the crime or anything.

We gave it a couple of days to see if she would recover. She was a tough old gal, and we'd heard stories of ducks recovering from worse, but she started going down hill fast. Was just laying in one of the nest boxes most of the time. Big Onion did the grim deed while I was at work and buried her in the corner of the poultry yard.

We've had a lot ducks come and go over the years, but every once in a while, you have one that stands out as special and you cannot help but hold a special place in your heart for them. This old gal was sweet and gentle and will be missed.

PS, from Big Onion: I just wanted to add that we would likely not have gotten into duck breeding, which instigated our plans to purchase a farm sooner rather than later, if it wasn't for Mrs. Ducky and her ridiculous productivity. We've bred from her a line of wonderful layers; maybe not the best meat birds, but any duck that lays around 300 eggs per year is certainly worthy of some praise. Rest in peace, good lady. Thanks for getting us moving in the right direction.